Five reasons why video game versions of board games will never work

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With my daughter almost reaching three years old and being easier to manage in general, my wife and I have started getting back into inviting our friends over for Game Night, not to be confused with Swingers Night. We’ve done this for years now, breaking out the Scrabble or Cranium games, adding in some alcohol, and just had a blast.

Over the years, there have been multiple tries at porting a board game into a video game version. Monopoly is the first one that springs to mind, and sure they capture the game play itself, but it doesn’t really capture the social aspect in my opinion. And they don’t allow for the shenanigans that can occur playing the real thing.

As a test, I rented the Monopoly that just came out for the current consoles. We invited over another couple, and sat down to play. Overall, it was a decent experience, but while the social aspect and dialogue was there, it just didn’t seem as fun when you’re just passing around the controller.

So here’s five reasons why the real board game will never be beat by a video game adaptation:

  1. Stealing from the bank – If you’ve never done this in a game of Monopoly, you’ve never been the banker. Embezzling funds is one of the most fun parts of the game. Oh you passed GO and collect $200? The banker’s gonna slip an extra hundred out for himself when you’re not looking. One of the player is slightly drunk? Hand them back incorrect change for something while skimming for yourself. Seriously, the temptation is too great. Don’t lie to me, all of you have done this. Be proud.
  2. Arguing over game rules – When you play a video game, you can’t really argue, can you? If the game has the Scrabble dictionary, you’re not going to get away with it. Playing in real life, you might. Unless someone gets anal and makes you go get the dictionary or go look it up on the internet. Then you can start with the “HA I told you buttsecks isn’t a valid word”.
  3. Shady backroom dealings – Look, when you’re being offered sexual favors by your wife in exchange for you giving her North Carolina Avenue so that she has all of that color and can start building houses and hotels, your enjoyment of the game has just gone up 300%. And yes, asking for anal for Boardwalk is a fair trade.
  4. “Accidents” – And by accidents I mean anything that can change the game. These include knocking pieces over where people don’t remember where they belong or spilling a drink and using the distraction to change something on the board. And if all else fails, the epic “flipping the board” technique always works.
  5. Luck – Now I guess you can argue that this still exists in a video game. I mean the computer is randomly rolling a number for you, but I just don’t trust it. Rolling physical dice seems more “luck” based than having a computer do it for you anyway. And of course, if the computer screws you on a roll, you can’t use the “But one of the dice went off the board so I have to re-roll” rule on it.
  6. Okay, so maybe you don’t want to play me as I don’t play fair. But to me, board games are truly a social activity that benefits from being around the table together, not staring at a TV screen. Besides, don’t we do that enough already?

    Nope. Be right back, I’ve gotta finish this game of Catan on XBL.

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